Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Never-Ending Story of the Horrible, Terrible, No-Good Neighbors

It's been a while since I last posted about the horrible, terrible, no-good neighbors. But not for lack of things to write about. The problems continue and the situation has gotten much worse in the past few weeks.

To recap for those who are new to my blog or who aren't nearly as obsessed with my life as I am:

I started having noisy neighbor problems the very first week that I moved into this apartment. I tried to deal with it maturely and directly by knocking on the door and politely asking them to keep it down. That worked for a few weeks, but I got tired of getting out of bed several times during the week to knock on doors. So I complained to the landlord, who said, "Not my problem. Call the police."

I really didn't want to get the police involved. They have better things to do than deal with noise complaints, and I didn't want to create a bigger problem with the neighbors.

But the situation went from bad to worse, particularly with the girl directly above me. She started having louder and more frequent parties, and she became less responsive when I knocked on the door. I tried the landlord again, who still refused to intervene.

In the meantime, I had gone months without a solid night's sleep.

So I started calling the police.

Now, I try to be a reasonable person and I do try to compromise. I don't complain about noise before 11 p.m. on weeknights and 1 a.m. on the weekends. I bought some ear plugs and a white noise machine to try to block some of the unavoidable and less offensive noise. But I don't think I'm being unreasonable to expect that I can be asleep between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. during the week or by 1 a.m. on the weekends. I really don't think that is asking too much.

The girl upstairs disagrees. Vehemently. Several times a week, I face the same scenario: Around 9 or 10 p.m., she puts on loud music while she gets ready to go out. She leaves shortly afterward, and the music goes off. Annoying, but I can deal. BUT . . . she then comes back between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m., with friends in tow. They very loudly make their way from the front door (which is directly across from my bedroom door) to the upstairs, where they crank up the music and stomp around. Not even my ear plugs and white noise machine can block out their racket.

Tired of dragging myself out of bed and upstairs to deal with an increasingly uncompromising neighbor, I turned to the Broom Stick Tap. The universal signal for Keep It Down. I would tap loudly three times on my ceiling. Often it worked, sometimes it didn't. When it didn't work, I would wait a few minutes, repeat, wait, and then call the police as a last resort.

All totalled, I've probably called the police a half dozen times to make a complaint about this one particular neighbor. I'm not sure how many times they have actually responded because I generally don't leave my name or phone number when I make the complaint.

Now, for the latest news:

This Saturday, it was the usual routine. At 1.15 a.m., she returned with a herd of friends, turned up the music, and stomped around. I tapped. Nothing happened. So I called the police.

Let me pause in complaining about my neighbor to complain about the two people I dealt with at the Madison Police Department that night. Generally, when I make a complaint, the people are weary and uninterested but polite. They take down the address, ask if I want someone to follow up with me (which I always decline), and say that someone will be out as soon as they can. This particular time, the woman was unbelievably rude: She demanded my apartment number, name, and phone number and hung up on me when I said I'd rather not give that information. I waited 45 minutes, during which time the noise just got louder, so I called back to check whether someone was actually coming. The second call was answered by a man who was also very rude and mocked me for making the complaint. Asshole.

Anyway, this time a police officer did show up---she rang my doorbell because I had been bullied into giving my apartment number---and hearing the noise from the hallway, she went up to deal with it. Now, I suspect that the girl got busted for more than a noise complaint because the officer was up there for a lot longer than it takes to say, "Keep the noise down." In any case, I later found out that she got a substantial fine ($170). Needless to say, she was not pleased with me. And about five minutes after the officer left, she let me know how displeased she was by stomping hard enough on her floor to rattle the dishes in my kitchen. Repeatedly. She then spent the next two hours stomping around, slamming doors, and doing anything she could short of restarting the party to be absolutely annoying. It was well past 4 a.m. before I got to sleep.

Sunday night was uneventful. But Monday night is one of her favorite party nights. And so, at 1.30 a.m., I'm woken up by shouting, loud music, and stomping. I pull out the broom stick and bang it against the ceiling. The music goes off. Yay. But . . .

A minute later, someone starts pounding (not knocking, pounding) on my door. I ignore it, hoping the person will have been satisfied with the pounding and go away. No such luck. More pounding. And then a man shouting at me to open the door. Rowen is going crazy, growling and barking (good dog!), and to keep the whole building from being woken up, I answer the door. The girl had sent her boyfriend down to confront (read: intimidate/threaten) me. He starts getting belligerent and insisting that I explain "exactly how loud the music can be" and yelling at me for calling the cops on Saturday. I respond, rather impressively calmly, that if the tenant has something she wants to discuss, she can come by at a reasonable hour and talk to me about it herself. I then close the door on him. The music comes back on, but at a more reasonable volume, and I put in my ear plugs.

But by then I was so angry and annoyed that sleep was not coming soon. Between the continued noise, the anger, and the discomfort of the ear plugs, I again didn't get to sleep until well past 4 a.m.

I wound up taking a sick day from classes today because the stress and sleep deprivation have wrecked me.

Six days until closing. Those days can't go by fast enough.


At 12:51 PM , Blogger Bearette24 said...

Well, that sounds totally vile and unpleasant. I'm glad you're moving!

At 6:36 PM , Blogger Tressa said...

I am soooo glad you are moving. What a horrible, immature and WUSSIE neighbor!

Do you think her family would be MORTIFIED to find out how she's been acting, or do you think they raiser her to be so ridiculous and selfish? And her boyfriend must be just as bad - I'd leave Andy's ass in a heartbeat if he acted like that!

Hang in there!!

At 4:23 PM , Blogger Scott said...

That is so crazy. So glad that you are getting out of that situation. good for you.

At 7:08 PM , Blogger Mike said...

As annoying as the neighbors are, the police most likely didn't really come out until you gave your address. Part of the know your accuser thing, plus they need to have a contact for their records. I know Madison has some odd laws about what you get fined for, like it used to be underage drinking was $50 in the early 90's, and being busted with marijuana was a $5 fine. Go figure. As for the boyfriend, I'd have just called 911 and said someone is pounding on my door and I have no idea who it is. Sometimes you have to kill ants with a sledgehammer to get the point across.

At 8:23 AM , Blogger Liz said...

What a bitch!

I really can't understand the complete lack of common courtesy. Good riddance!

How old are these people? (please don't say 35...)

At 8:25 AM , Blogger Liz said...

Also- I kind of wish Rowen had bitten the guy in the nuts, although I know that would have created more problems than it would've solved.


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